Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Written For Outdoor Gazette
December 27, 2007

Predicted Cold Snowy Winter Music To Many Ears
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

If weather forecasters are correct, we should have the type of winter that makes most people quite happy. We should have the snow needed to allow for snowmobilers to use their home trails and plenty of ice making cold to allow good access for ice fishermen. We are also expected to have an above average amount of snow throughout the months of February and March, which is good news for spring anglers. All things considered, it is about time we had a winter like this to enjoy. As I get older I am by far less willing to go out in the cold to do anything. Still, snow on the ground and people out enjoying their winter fun make for a generally happier town on any given day. In the grocery store, at the bowling alley or any place you go, people who like winter activities are in a good mood. Hopefully those who predict such things are correct and we continue to get the kind of weather that makes for a good snow year.

Ice anglers are out in good numbers also. I’ve seen dozens of shanties on the river and plenty of trucks parked along highway X west of New London. There have been some walleye being caught on some days with the low light time period around morning and evening being best. Lake Poygan has been seeing it’s share of ice anglers too as has most of the area Mill ponds, sloughs and back waters. Bluegill, crappie, perch and pike are the main targets with the “gills” having been most active. Traffic from machines and more ice anglers has changed the early patterns, but those in the know are finding good fishing. Lake Winnebago is also seeing good numbers of ice anglers, many of who are in search or perch. From some of the reports I’ve seen, those lucky enough to find a school of perch can expect to limit out (25) on fish ranging anywhere from 9 to 11 inches. There are some bigger ones being caught, and plenty small perch to take your bait too. That should mean good action even if you have to move to find the right school of keeper size fish. Walleye are also being caught as ice conditions continue to improve to where ice anglers can get to prime locations. This is where clubs such as the Payne’s Point Hook & Spear Club are so important. Members make sure ice roads are plowed and marked with christmas trees as “mile markers”. They also man the bridges that span the cracks in the ice and keep an eye on any change in conditions. Those who fish the big lake during the hard water period are encouraged to join and support clubs such as these. They are a great resource of information all year long and help to keep ice anglers as safe as possible when on Lake Winnebago.

Some spots on the Mississippi and Wisconsin are open to boats. I’ve had reliable sources tell me that small boats are able to get in on pool 4 on the Mississippi and that the launch below the Petenwell dam could be managed. That’s good news to guys like me who prefer open water fishing if at all possible. The Illinois River is also a great destination this time of year if fishing from your boat is what you wish to do. The sauger there can average 2 - 3 pounds and fight like little monsters in the fast moving water of the Illinois. There are a few walleye around too, but generally the sauger is what the fishery is noted for. It’s not a far drive south of Beloit to the LaSalle/Peru area and a chance to do a little open water fishing.

So get out and enjoy winter. Go snowmobiling or ice fishing. Do some downhill or cross country skiing if you get a chance or just take a walk with your dog. January is a great time to visit one of Wisconsin’s many pheasant hunting clubs or game farms. The joy of a walk in the field behind a well trained dog is something worth making the effort to participate in even if you never discharge your shotgun. Here’s another way to enjoy nature this time of year. Buy a bird feeder. Well maintained feeders will attract a variety of birds and other wildlife. I’ve always enjoyed watching a squirrel wrestle with a “squirrel proof” feeder. I have also enjoyed the many cardinals, finches and other birds I attract. The little feathered creatures that brave Wisconsin’s winters have a more difficult time finding food when there is a lot of snow to deal with. That makes consistently stocked feeders an important part of survival. A free standing unit placed near cover such as small trees or bushes can be a great way to give back to the birds who fill the air with song. Ask a professional what the best mix is for dry food and for suggestions as to the types of feeders that will work best for your situation. Places to hang, pole mounts and other considerations all come in to play. Suit balls and other things with higher proteins are a nice addition but again, a professionals opinion is the best way to maximize your dollars.

For more information on topics such as this and the areas great fishing, make sure to check out Doc’s Wolf River Country.Com Joel “Doc” Kunz is a freelance outdoor writer / photographer published weekly by Outdoor Gazette. His work is also seen in many other Wisconsin and Midwest publications. He is a recent READERS CHOICE award winner and a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. His is a Pro Team member of Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Motorguide & Lindy Little Joe.


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